Marion County Voters Choose To Expand Mass Transit In Indianapolis

November 8, 2016 | WFYI 90.5 | link to Article

Voters in Marion County have said yes to expanded transit in Indianapolis. Question 2 on the Marion County ballot asked residents if they want to expand mass transit in Indianapolis, and pay for it with a .25 percent income tax increase.  The expansion would include three rapid transit lines, extended hours and more frequent bus service.

Nicole Barnes, transit campaign manager for the faith-based Indianapolis Congregation Action Network, which has been urging residents to vote "Yes" on the referendum, says the results of the referendum are a win for the city, especially poor communities of color.

“It’s very important to make sure that my brothers and sisters are able to rely on transportation and have a system that will allow them to keep jobs and keep their homes and their families together,” says Barnes. “So it’s crucial.”

The expansion plan is projected to be fully implemented by 2021. New equipment and construction costs are expected to total $390 million dollars, with $108 million in annual operating costs.

Lee Lange, an organizer with Stop the Red Line, which opposes the expansion, says the system will be outdated by the time it’s realized.

“Frankly everyone wants better mass transit in this community,” says Lange. “But this was an idea of better mass transit. It’s really a hope and a dream, not a real plan.”

The issue is now up to the City-County Council,  which can choose to  implement the full 0.25 percent income tax increase, or a partial increase. Lange hopes councilors think carefully before making their decision.